What Happened: Adidas is transcending the physical realm in its latest campaign. To celebrate the release of its Spring/Summer 2022 Ozworld collection, the sneaker giant has teamed up with 3D avatar generator platform Ready Player Me to introduce a new digital experience, whereby users can take a personality test to craft a virtual alter ego. Taking aesthetic cues from the Ozworld line, these avatars can be used to explore virtual worlds, try on sneakers, or be turned into stickers and GIFs. The first installment of avatars is set to arrive on April 28.
The Jing Take: As the world’s first personality-based avatar generator (Ready Player Me generates avatars via user selfies), “the Ozworld platform launch is the next bold step in adidas Originals’ ambition to create a truly open and optimistic Metaverse for all,” stated the company. Not only does the initiative capture the Ozworld collection’s spirit of style experimentation and self expression, but it also pushes the limits of the Ready Player Me platform by offering interoperability across 1,500 different metaverse apps and games.
More importantly, it builds on adidas’ metaverse momentum. In January, the sportswear titan teamed up with Prada to unveil a “first-of-its-kind” NFT project that saw fashion, design and crypto creators collaborating on a large-scale art piece. Prior to this, the brand tapped Bored Ape Yacht Club, NFT influencer Gmoney, and comics series Punks Comics for an NFT collection — which fetched a staggering $22 million in sales — and bought a plot of virtual land in The SandBox. Now, as avatars shape up to be the next influencer marketing trend, adidas solidifies its position ahead of the pack.
But adidas shouldn’t get comfortable there. Since debuting Nikeland in November, rival Nike claims that nearly 7 million people have visited its metaverse store on Roblox, driven by an activation with Lebron James. On top of this, the world’s largest sportswear brand also acquired virtual shoe company RTFKT in December 2021 and formed a new business division to deliver “best-in-class Web3, Metaverse, and blockchain-based experiences.” So, while the metaverse is technically open to all, the battle for its control has just begun.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.